Writer and wine columnist John Schreiner is Canada's most prolific author of books on wine.
Monday, March 8, 2021
Blue Mountain's Cru quality Gamay Noir
Photo: Blue Mountain's Matt Mavety
Over the years, the price of Blue Mountain Gamay Noir has crept up. The 2011 vintage, for example, was released at $21 and the 2014 at $23 a bottle. The current release is $30.
I believe the quality of the wine has also risen. The 2019 may also be the best Gamay Noir to date from this Okanagan Falls winery. And the price is just right, considering that the competitive wines – the Beaujolais Cru wines from France - are listed around $30 as well.
Beaujolais is made in Burgundy with the Gamay Noir grape. The wines are released at several levels of quality: Beaujolais, Beaujolais Village and, at the top, about a dozen named Crus, such as Morgon, Chénas or Brouilly. The recently listed 2016 Pascal Aufranc Chénas Vignes de 1939 is priced $28.99.
I have previously expressed my view that Blue Mountain’s Gamay Noir is of Cru quality. I can’t tell you which of the Cru because I don’t get to taste them often. From memory, I might compare it to Morgon or Juliénas or Moulin-à-Vent.
The varietal tends to be treated as the poor man’s Burgundy, a wine to buy when you cannot afford Pinot Noir. I once told Matt Mavety, Blue Mountain’s winemaker, that nobody collects Gamay Noir in his or her cellar. “Well,” Matt retorted, “they don’t know what they are missing.”
If you do not know what you are missing, Blue Mountain’s 2019 Gamay Noir is a place to start. Here is a note on the wine.
Blue Mountain Gamay Noir 2019 ($30). The vines range in age from 12 years to 30 years. Blue Mountain also has three clones of this grape. The wine is fermented with natural yeast and the maceration period is 18 days. After ferment, the wine is aged a year in four-year-old French oak barrels. The result is a silky, full-bodied wine with aromas and flavours of cherry, blackberry and spice and with a hint of mocha on the finish. 92.